Signs of Life

Last week’s surgery was a success, but man I sure don’t feel like it. Once the doctor got inside my head, he discovered that the tumor had more than doubled in size since I had an MRI a couple months back. At that rate of growth, it would’ve become life-threatening much earlier than anticipated, so it’s a good thing I had the procedure sooner rather than later.

In order to remove the tumor, the surgeon had to remove my left hearing nerve, which means I’m now totally deaf in that ear. He also had to remove the left balance nerve, which as you can imagine has left me really off-kilter. The first two days after the surgery I was too dizzy to even open my eyes – all I’d see was a spinning room – and I was told that when I did open my eyes they darted rapidly back and forth, as though they were trying to figure out what to focus upon. I’ll skip the rest of the details, but suffice to say, those first few days were among the worst I’ve ever experienced.

I’m an annoyingly positive person, though, so I haven’t really let this whole thing get me down. In fact, the only time I’d say I was really depressed was when I listened to music on the car ride home. Even though I listen to music all the time, for some reason I hadn’t considered how music would change once my hearing nerve was removed. I was pretty choked up when I discovered how flat my favorite songs sounded with only one ear to hear them through.

The other thing I wasn’t completely prepared to handle was how I’d look after the operation. Let’s just say that whoever cut my hair must’ve tackled my head like it was sheep ready for shearing. When combined with the huge line of staples going up the side of my head, my fancy new hair-do makes me look flat-out freakish. A neighbor of mine was very kind, though, and suggested that I looked like Johnny Depp (to which I replied, “Do you mean in Edward Scissorhands?”).

The good news is that I’m getting better each day, and I’m already taking short walks to help regain my sense of balance. Right now walking on solid ground feels like walking on a cruise ship riding the waves, but I’m confident that walking will feel more natural within a month or so. And once walking is normal, I plan to get back to running again (running is definitely an addiction!).

The fact that I’m able to type this blog entry less than a week after the operation has me hopeful that recovery will be quicker than I was led to believe, but it will still be a few weeks before I’m able to really tackle any serious work. In the meantime, I’m sure I’ll keep up with the blog world, and I’ll post here every now and then with random thoughts about the progress of my new hairstyle :)

108 thoughts on “Signs of Life

  1. Congrats on the surgury! Im glad it went well and we will continue to keep you in our prayers. Any chance of a picture of your new hair do in the meantime though? ;)

  2. Good luck with the recovery from me too. I hope with the loss of your hearing on one side you also lost your tinnitus. Sometimes the signal gets like branded into your brain and people who are completely deaf have said that they still hear the tinnitus.
    All the best

  3. Wow, good to know your okay. I lost my sense of balance for 2 days due to an inner ear infection, and it was probably the scariest thing I’ve had to go through medically speaking. I’m very impressed with your attitude and resolve. Good luck man.

  4. Glad to hear everything went well, bit sad that you had to lose your hearing nerve but it’s certainly better than the alternative :)
    Wishing you the best for your recovery.

  5. A friend I met this summer had the same surgery with nearly identical results and subsequent hearing loss. He said it took him several months to feel completely normal as far as balance was concerned.
    Glad you got it taken care of and I wish a speedy recovery.

  6. Best wishes, Nick!
    Knowing you, you’ll be back to the gym in no time.
    That skydiving trip with your NFL bud in, what was it, 2 years(?) may have to be put off a week or two though.

  7. Nick,
    I really feel for you with your loss of hearing. I have an inkling of how it must feel, though I never had the prospect of permanent hearing loss.
    Don’t freak though mate, you’ll be surprised at how the brain can work magic. The human ear doesn’t _hear_ as much as you think, there is research that indicates that the brain “approximates” quite a large amount of detail in conversation (therefor music too, no?) from information it has stored away.
    The clarity will come back over time – just stay your bouyant self!
    Glad to _read_ you’re still among the living mate.

  8. Glad to hear the surgery went well. Best wishes for a quick recovery. :) As always, looking forward to your great work on your software.
    Get well soon!

  9. Off-line still, but wanted to send a shout-out to Nick Bradbury

    Off-line still, but wanted to send a shout-out to Nick Bradbury: I continue to be offline and am being forcibly kept away from my computer.

  10. Hi Nick
    aqui vai uma nota internacional para o teu blog. Diretamente de São Paulo, Brazil. Estamos felizes por te-lo de volta e com o espirito tao forte e positivo.
    all the best

  11. Can’t wait to see you back up to full speed.
    Is it too late to tell you to avoid seeing Bruce Campbell’s “Man with the Screaming Brain” on Sci-Fi? :)
    Get well soon – we miss you!

  12. thanks for sharing with us Nick, great to hear the surgery went well.
    I’m pretty much deaf in my left ear since my brother decided it would be a good idea to get a kitchen towel tube, put it against my ear and scream. I was 13.
    Brendan makes a good point. Your brain will reconfigure to allow your other ear to compensate. You’ll notice less the loss of hearing over time.
    Here’s the bright side of the bad ear:
    – If you’re a light sleeper (I am), going to sleep on your good hear (bad ear up) makes for a great natural and cheap noise-reduction system.
    – You can ignore people at will and not offend them. Simply place your corresponding the index finger over the good ear’s Tragus (see below). Useful for those mother-in-law moments.
    – When things get too loud (such as an ambulance screaming and wailing while it passes) you only need to cover one ear, leaving you with a free hand to drink your Starbucks.
    Anyway, have speedy recovery!
    The Tragus location – it is the pierced bit
    It could be worse:

  13. Nick, I’m so relieved that the doctors identified the problem in time and that the surgery was a success. I can’t wait for you to be able to run again.
    Good luck with your recovery, and live each day in a new light.

  14. Hi Nick –
    Great to see you back online. That said, you’ve got to get yourself a life man. Don’t push it. Enjoy your rest and vacation, I guess you’re doing that already. Here’s to your health. Cheers.

  15. Nick — good to hear you made it through the surgery! Take things one step at a time and don’t over do anything.

  16. Nick,
    glad to hear that you’re doing better and wish you all the best with your recovery. To give you encouragement with the music, I’ve been totally deaf in my right ear for my entire life and I truly enjoy music. My tastes are eclectic and range from Willie Nelson to Luciano Pavoratti. I suspect your perceptions will shortly adapt to your new single ear status and you will enjoy music once again to the fullest.

  17. Hi Nick,
    good to hear the surgery was ok.
    It’s really supporting to see you beeing so positive about the recovery process. Keep it on and get well soon!

  18. Good to know you’re back and well, and you’re keeping that positive mood. Hope you completly recover soon. Take care!

  19. Nick: After being away from web development for three years, I was asked to do a redesign — first thing I reached for was topstyle and then I read your blog! OMG! Hope your recovery is a speedy one. You’re the best.

  20. Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Nick! I hope this can provide a little comfort: my father is also deaf in one ear (also because of surgery) and he still enjoys music greatly. Keep the positive vibe!

  21. Congratulations on a succesful surgery and I hope you recover quickly, I’ve never seen someone so positive :)

  22. Congratulations on a succesful surgery and I hope you recover quickly, I’ve never seen someone so positive :)

  23. Basically Nick what we are trying to tell you is we all love, respect and admire you.
    We love the software you create/created (HomeSite is a particular favourite) but really who gives a rats – just get well soon!
    Personally I’m really glad you are back blogging and working at being “Nick Bradbury” again!

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